Dragon can be even better, says elated owner
It has been a season of favourites and there were no surprises at the end of term Champion Awards either as Ambitious Dragon took Horse Of The Year honours and his owner promised even better to come.
Johnson Lam Pui-hung wasn't far away with his lesser colour-bearer, Ambitious Owner, in the third race and the name seemed appropriate as he accepted the Most Improved, Champion Middle-Distance and the public-voted Most Popular Horse awards for Ambitious Dragon before taking the main trophy.
'I hope to do even better next year,' Lam added, a tall order for the Tony Millard-trained gelding after winning seven races and three Group Ones, including the Derby and the QE II Cup, but the four-year-old has quickly assumed the role of superstar and nothing looks beyond him.
Throughout the afternoon, the official function in the Jockey Club box was telecast around the track as the favourites, who fell into two categories only - hot and smoking - collected the awards for excellence in their various categories.
His chief rival for Horse Of The Year, Tony Cruz's Beauty Flash, had to settle for Champion Miler for his three Group Ones, and John Moore's Mighty High was a shoo-in for Champion Stayer as the Champions & Chater Cup winner.
And the favourites kept on coming.
Bear Hero collected the Champion Griffin award, Lifetime Achievement awards went to retired greats, Viva Pataca and Good Ba Ba, and London China Town won the bonus award for the best 2009 International Sale Griffin, an award settled by his prize money earnings of $3.752 million. In a new award, Singapore star sprinter Rocket Man was voted the Most Admired Overseas Horse Of The Year, with 75,522 votes - more than a third of the total lodged - while Douglas Whyte collected just under half of all votes cast for the Most Popular Jockey to romp home 79,000 ahead of Maxime Guyon.
Only the Champion Sprinter category appeared to have an element of risk to the favourite, but a lone Group One in the Centenary Sprint Cup was enough to see sacred Kingdom take the category for the fourth year on end, over Dim Sum, whose record read quite similarly this season, and Ultra Fantasy, who was the only Hong Kong winner of a foreign Group One.